Three months ago, the latch on my brother’s basement door was broken. This wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for Momo, the cat.
When I visit my brother’s family, I sleep in the basement. In that black abyss, full of computers and machines that whir with deafening white noise, I get the best night’s rest of my life. I can be fast asleep by 11pm and won’t wake up until noon the next day. I take this sleep very seriously; I look forward to it all year.
So when I said goodnight to my family, but then couldn’t close the door, I was worried. Immediately I had an image of Momo the cat, sneaking downstairs after I’d fallen asleep and leaping on top of me for some loving attention. I imagined a 6am wake up call from a loud purr and two kneading paws on my shoulder.
“Dainna,” I said to my sister-in-law. “The latch is broken, and I’m worried about Momo waking me up.” Dainna got to her feet, laughing, and handed me a roll of clear packing tape to lock myself in. “Here you go, sister.” She said.
Two minutes and six pieces of tape later, I had sufficiently closed the basement door, with me inside it. “Sorry, Momo,” I thought, “You’ll have to find someone else to love.” I turned around and headed down the stairs.
When I got to the bottom and flipped on the light, well, I bet you can guess what happened next. There was Momo, smiling and proud, perched on my pillow, waiting.
A few nights ago, I was laying in the dark, feeling my broken heart. I’ve spent the summer getting to know a man who I wanted to fall in love with. Last week, we decided (he said it first) to be friends.
I watched my mind try to resist the pain, telling me I hadn’t been careful enough. I had opened my heart as wide as it would go, I had let him all the way in. I watched as my scared, sad, little mind begged me to be more careful next time. But to my mind, my heart said “No.” I lay in the dark and received the disappointment, grief, and fear, just as I had received the love.
While I lay there, I was thinking of something a teacher once said, something like: We close our hearts thinking we’re keeping the pain out, when in reality we’re keeping it in.
That’s when I remembered the story of Momo the cat, locked inside the basement instead of outside, and I laughed out loud.
Let the healing begin.